Police captain Asher Penaz’s staunch professionalism bleeds into his home life, down to his neatly pressed attire and spartan apartment. He enjoys being the man in charge, and leather bars satisfy his need for dominance—so his sudden and powerful attraction to the lighthearted, free-spirited Daniel Tover throws him for a loop. In his entire life, Daniel has never gotten what he needs, so he moves to the next place, the next job, the next attempt to find something worth staying for, always landing at the top of his game, but never feeling like he belongs.
The chemistry between Asher and Daniel sizzles, so Asher invites Daniel home. As both men struggle to learn themselves while getting to know each other, the lines of desire and control blur. With all that fire comes the risk of getting burned. But if Daniel and Asher can walk through the flames together, they might find what they desperately need.
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“It’s a short flight, sugar. We won’t even be in the air two hours,” Asher said.
Daniel bobbed his head in agreement, but his eyes were wide, he was chewing on his lip, and he was frantically pulling at the threads in his jeans, expanding one of several holes. Clearly, logic as an approach to calm the man wasn’t succeeding.
Asher wasn’t a fan of public displays of affection, or, if he was being completely honest, affection in general unless it led directly to him busting a nut. But he was willing to make an exception in his case. After all, there were extenuating circumstances. Namely, Daniel’s near panic and Asher’s desire to protect the man from any harm, both real and perceived. Weird, but true.
He reached for Daniel’s hand, prying it from the ruined jeans and holding it tightly. “Just close your eyes and relax.” Asher rubbed his thumb back and forth over the back of Daniel’s hand, the gesture as unfamiliar as it was instinctive. “We’ll be landing before you know it.”
Daniel nodded again, less frantically this time, squeezed his eyes shut, and burrowed his face under Asher’s chin. It made no sense, but he was clearly petrified. Asher continued holding his hand as the plane taxied down the runway. As soon as the wheels left the ground, Daniel lurched up and gripped both armrests so hard his knuckles turned white.
“Shhh, sugar,” Asher said. “It’s okay. Promise.”
Scared, needy eyes looked up at him. “Ash?” Daniel said. “Yeah?” Asher once again put his hand on top of Daniel’s and stroked it.
“Will you—” Daniel licked his dry lips. “Will you kiss me?”
All the reasons Asher normally had for avoiding that type of intimacy escaped him in that moment. He cupped Daniel’s cheek with one hand, gripped his nape with the other, and leaned down, touching his lips hesitantly to Daniel’s. A sigh was his reward as Daniel melted against him, and Asher decided maybe he didn’t hate kissing as much as he’d thought. He increased the pressure of his mouth against Daniel’s, darted his tongue out and swiped it across Daniel’s lower lip and then pushed it into his mouth when the man parted his lips on a sigh. All right, so maybe he more than didn’t hate it.
Cardeno C. - CC to friends - is a hopeless romantic who wants to add a lot of happiness and a few "awwws" into a reader's day. Writing is a nice break from real life as a corporate type and volunteer work with gay rights organizations. Cardeno's stories range from sweet to intense, contemporary to paranormal, long to short, but they always include strong relationships and walks into the happily-ever-after sunset.
Cardeno's Home, Family, and Mates series have received awards from Love Romances and More Golden Roses, Rainbow Awards, the Goodreads M/Romance Group, and various reviewers. But even more special to CC are heartfelt reactions from readers, like, "You bring joy and love and make it part of the every day."
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